Ancient Unknown Insect Species

Diplurans – an ancient, mostly unknown insect

There is a small, unusually shaped, and very common insect that most people do not even know exists. They are called diplurans. About a 1000 different types of these insects inhabit the world and over one hundred species here in America. At first glance a dipluran might be mistaken for a small centipede or a beetle larvae. They certainly look similar; I’ve made that mistake myself. But a closer look reveals that the animal has just six legs – way too little for a centipede. And unlike beetle larvae diplurans spend their entire life in this shape. Diplurans are among the most primitive insects in the world. The name Dipluran comes from the pair of appendages at the rear of the animal which some species actually use to catch and hold prey. I usually find them under wet rotted bark of downed trees. They prefer moist habitats and are found across the U.S.

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